The “Parkerization” of the wine world is a hotly debated trend in said world. Interestingly, it is also a method of protecting a steel surface from corrosion and increasing its resistance to wear through electrochemical phosphate conversion coating. Parkerizing is commonly, and most notably, used on firearms.
Corrosion, conversion, guns?
In the case of The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization, Alice Feiring is the loaded gun; and like a modern day John Wayne, she sidles into many a saloon (well, in this case, many a winery) and lets loose on all those outlaw Parkerites, those over-manipulators of wines (boo, ssss); and, yes, ol’ Bob Parker himself. All while heroically standing up for the traditional winemaker: farmers and wine makers who work the land they love – some passed down over time, some newly acquired; and those who let the wines they cultivate stand on their own with little or no manipulating of any kind.
This is Feiring Frontier: the terroir-driven wine. “Wines that truly have a story to tell” are what inspires Feiring, and it is the story of wines that come from peoples’ blood, sweat, tears, and exceptional dirt, that move her most. Woe to those who would add a wood chip here, and an unnatural yeast there. All those out to please Parker and his ilk are those what make Feiring spitting mad. And this is one lady isn’t afraid to pull her punches.
That said, Feiring doesn’t despise Parker so much as she can’t stand how much power he wields over the wine industry. She even goes so far as to assert that he has a moral responsibility to the little folk, those who produce those terroir-driven wines she so dearly loves. In this, Feiring pushes too far. One man’s morality is, after all, his own.
Nonetheless, it’s hard not to admire Feiring’s spunk, passion, and no-holds-bar candor in this entertaining and, yes, educating book. So be it the new frontier of wine or no, Feiring is going to keep up her heroic battle; and, like the Duke himself, she’s going to do it with a devil in her eye, a fire in her belly, and a hefty kick in her step.
As for Parker? Sadly, for him, it doesn’t look like Feiring is going to be riding off into the sunset anytime soon. Looking for more Wine Book Reviews?
The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization.
By Alice Feiring
Winner of the James Beard Foundation Award
2008 Harcourt, Inc.